Archive for October 13th, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Linda McMahon’s WWE Kept Vince’s Rape Accuser Employed Longer Than Geraldo Lawsuit Suggests

As noted here earlier, Jerry McDevitt, the lawyer for Senate candidate Linda McMahon and her World Wrestling Entertainment, is threatening to sue Talking Points Memo for retelling the story of Linda and Vince McMahon’s aborted 1993 lawsuit against Geraldo Rivera for allegedly concocting an allegation by a former wrestling referee that Vince had raped her.

See “FLASHBACK: McMahons Sued Geraldo For Airing Rape Claims By Former WWE Referee,” http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/10/mcmahons-sued-geraldo-fired-employee-for-emotional-distress-after-rape-claim-video.php.

See also TPM’s reproduction of the March 5, 1993, filing in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, at http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/documents/2010/10/vince-and-linda-mcmahon-file-march-1993-lawsuit-against-wwe-employees-and-tv-show.php?page=1.

Let me say first that I do not know whether Vince McMahon raped Rita Chatterton. During that period of scandals at the then-World Wrestling Federation, many accusations were flying around and some of them were false. (One was a charge by a briefly employed announcer named Murray Hodgson that WWF executive Pat Patterson had sexually harassed  him.)

However, it is clear from the McMahons’ Geraldo brief that they were, at a minimum and characteristically, fudging the Chatterton timeline. Page 4 of the complaint states, “In or around 1986, Chatterton was dismissed from the WWF because she was not a competent ring referee and posed a danger to herself in the ring.”

(The TPM story itself, by Christina Bellantoni, says Chatterton “was fired for cause … in 1986.” Lawyer McDevitt is quoted within that paragraph, though he is not directly cited as the source of that fact.)

My problem here is that I don’t understand what’s so complicated about Chatterton’s dismissal date. In my experience, when I’ve been canned from jobs, both sides knew the date. The Week magazine eliminated its sports page and dropped me as a contributing editor “in or around 2003,” but if one or the other of us were filing a lawsuit about it, I think we could look up the exact year, indeed the exact final issue in which I was listed on the masthead.

So, “upon information and belief,” that line in the McMahons’ brief raised a flag. My next step was to check with hard-core wrestling fans.

One fan told me, with great specificity, that in the fall of 2008 he was watching on “24/7,” the WWE website’s on-demand video service, an edition of the company’s “Prime Time” show which originally aired on Thanksgiving Night 1987. The program included a tape of Chatterton refereeing a match between Jose Estrada and Brady Boone from the Boston Garden on October 3, 1987.

I asked a WWE insider for more insight on the Rita Chatterton situation. According to this source, Chatterton was held over “for a year or two” beyond 1986, doing “two to four shots per year.” This person speculated that the part-time extension of her employment might have given Vince McMahon cover in case Chatterton ever later decided to go after him. Of course, such a sequence, if accurate, would suggest that some kind of incident between Chatterton and McMahon had occurred “in or around 1986,” though the parties could have had different interpretations of it.

I have not received a response to an invitation to comment, which was emailed to McDevitt, WWE spokesman Robert Zimmerman, and Linda McMahon campaign spokesman Ed Patru.

 

Irv Muchnick

Further Reading on ‘The Consequences of Death’ at Linda McMahon’s WWE – ‘A Very Sad Thing’

“‘The Question’ – Senate Candidate Linda McMahon (Still) Can’t Answer It (complete 7-part series as a single post),” January 10, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/01/10/%E2%80%98the-question%E2%80%99-%E2%80%93-senate-candidate-linda-mcmahon-still-can%E2%80%99t-answer-it-complete-7-part-series-as-a-single-post/

“Randy Orton, Poster Boy for Linda McMahon’s WWE ‘Wellness Policy’ (Part 1),” January 13, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/randy-orton-poster-boy-for-linda-mcmahons-wwe-wellness-policy-part-1/

“The Suicide Attempt (Part 2 – Randy Orton, Poster Boy for Linda McMahon’s WWE ‘Wellness Policy’),” January 13, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/the-suicide-attempt-part-2-randy-orton-poster-boy-for-linda-mcmahon%E2%80%99s-wwe-%E2%80%98wellness-policy%E2%80%99/

“Kelly Kelly Skit Was PG-PG Dumb-Dumb. (And By the Way, WWE Death Touches Her, Too),” February 18, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/kelly-kelly-skit-was-pg-pg-dumb-dumb-and-by-the-way-wwe-death-touches-her-too/

“EXCLUSIVE: WWE Wrestler ‘Umaga’ Died of ‘Acute Toxicity’,” March 1, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/exclusive-wwe-wrestler-umaga-died-of-acute-toxicity/

“Eddie ‘Umaga’ Fatu Autopsy: 406 Pounds, Enlarged Heart,” March 18, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/03/18/eddie-%E2%80%9Cumaga%E2%80%9D-fatu-autopsy-406-pounds-enlarged-heart/

“Another Dead Wrestler: Chris Kanyon,”April 3, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/04/03/another-dead-wrestler-chris-kanyon/

“Newest Linda McMahon Scandal Bread Crumb: ‘Independent’ Contract of Dead WWE Wrestler Chris Kanyon,” April 4, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/04/04/newest-linda-mcmahon-scandal-bread-crumb-%E2%80%98independent%E2%80%99-contract-of-dead-wwe-wrestler-chris-kanyon/

“What Linda McMahon and Her Husband Told CNN in 2007 About Concussions and Pro Wrestling Chair Shots,” July 8, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/what-linda-mcmahon-and-her-husband-told-cnn-in-2007-about-concussions-and-pro-wrestling-chair-shots/

“FAIR GAME – Linda McMahon Answers the Question of Systematic Death for Entertainment Industry Profits With … Another Question,” August 18, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/08/18/fair-game-linda-mcmahon-answers-the-question-of-systematic-death-for-entertainment-industry-profits-with-another-question/

“Late Lance Cade: ‘Addict’ (Linda McMahon’s Dismissal) Or Untreated Brain Trauma Victim (Plenty of Circumstantial Evidence)?”, August 19, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/late-lance-cade-%E2%80%98addict%E2%80%99-linda-mcmahon%E2%80%99s-dismissal-or-untreated-brain-trauma-victim-plenty-of-circumstantial-evidence/

“EXCLUSIVE: Chair Used to Batter the Late Wrestler Lance Cade Was Autographed by Shawn Michaels and Auctioned by WWE for $315,” August 23, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/08/23/exclusive-chair-used-to-batter-the-late-wrestler-lance-cade-was-autographed-by-shawn-michaels-and-auctioned-by-wwe-for-315/

“Linda McMahon’s Talent Contract Death Clause,” August 27, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/08/27/linda-mcmahons-wwe-talent-contract-death-clause/

Linda McMahon’s ‘Consequences of Death’ Not Important Enough for the Wrestling Media to Emphasize, Either

Pro Wrestling Torch wraps up last night’s Senate debate between Richard Blumenthal and Linda McMahon with the same pull quotes about lies, and the lying liars who make them, that you can find anywhere. See http://pwtorch.com/artman2/publish/WWE_News_3/article_44476.shtml. Writer James Caldwell does call out McMahon on wrestlers’ average pay and work schedule, but he doesn’t even highlight the ungrammatical and callous McMahon  quote below.

Wrestling Observer has yet to be heard from. I wonder if Dave Meltzer will reemphasize that he has long advocated that World Wrestling Entertainment, whose profits are bankrolling McMahon’s $50 million “self-funded” campaign, set up an “independent commission” to study the pandemic of dead employees on her watch.

Blumenthal: “I can’t believe that I just heard Ms. McMahon brag about this wellness policy at WWE. She requires all wrestlers to sign a death clause that absolves WWE of all responsibility if wrestlers are killed in the ring and if the company is at fault — absolves her company of all responsibility. That wellness policy is not working too well. There have been seven dead wrestlers since she started campaigning for this office. I would suggest some other policy might be advisable.”

McMahon: “There is absolutely a program in place to help men and women in WWE — these performers who are in the ring. And the consequences of death is a very sad thing when that happens, but those were not consequences as a result of ring performances.”


Irv Muchnick

Calmly Exposing Linda McMahon’s Portfolio of WWE Deaths Isn’t ‘Dramatic’ Enough for the Connecticut Media

Connecticut political reporter Mark Pazniokas has a decent takeout on last night’s Senate debate between Richard Blumenthal and Linda McMahon. See “Spotlight on wrestling in final Blumenthal-McMahon debate,” http://www.ctmirror.org/story/8030/spotlight-wrestling-final-blumenthal-mcmahon-debate.

I am amused, however, by this conclusion by Pazniokas: “[McMahon’s] answer provided an opening for a dramatic moment, for Blumenthal to question if the abuse of women and the mentally disabled was merely pushing the envelope. Instead he settled for contrasting his career with hers.”

Here again is the exchange that politicos, oddly, seem to regard as a bunt single rather than a home run:

Blumenthal: “I can’t believe that I just heard Ms. McMahon brag about this wellness policy at WWE. She requires all wrestlers to sign a death clause that absolves WWE of all responsibility if wrestlers are killed in the ring and if the company is at fault — absolves her company of all responsibility. That wellness policy is not working too well. There have been seven dead wrestlers since she started campaigning for this office. I would suggest some other policy might be advisable.”

McMahon: “There is absolutely a program in place to help men and women in WWE — these performers who are in the ring. And the consequences of death is a very sad thing when that happens, but those were not consequences as a result of ring performances.”

Irv Muchnick


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